Monday, October 13, 2008


I was at a show this weekend and a woman approached me asking me question after question about my jewelry and she said "my mom had bracelets full of charms, little moving pieces of history." I think that's why I love to make my charm bracelets because I get to use components of this and that, things my grandma had on her dressing table, things my mother loved, the cameos, the rhinestones. My parents were never big on excess. They didn't spoil their children the way I spoil my son. We were first told to work for what we wanted and sometimes I feel the guilt of just handing over things to my son just because I want his life to be easier.

But I have a different relationship with my son than I had with my parents. We are closer, more friends, confidants. We take the time to have lunch together and share all about our lives. He has a genuine interest in what makes me happy and although I knew what made my parents happy I didn't really have an investment in it. I had major heart surgery a few years ago and my son took time out of his life to help me heal, taking care of me in a way I didn't even know he was capable of taking of someone else. I had to remind myself of his caring when all I wanted was a cup of broth to feel comforted when I was writhing around in pain and he had to preach to me about the salt content of broth. I wanted to choke him.

No matter how hard we try we are like our parents. I am proud like my parents, and a little set off from the world. I am careful about letting strangers close. Not my Richie. He embraces the world with such a fervent gesture of hope that it takes me by surprise. The last time he was traveling I went to the post office to ask them a question about a shipment. During the summer, when he's home he's the mail person, the mail bitch. The people at the post office not only know him, but know his girlfriend, that he loves the cubs and that he loves to travel. Not one mail person asked me if he had landed ok, four did. They knew when he was leaving and wondered if he was having fun with his brothers. Later that afternoon I wander into 711 to get a cord of firewood. "Hey did Rich call? Is he having fun?" I didn't even know this clerk but he knew Richie and he knew I was Richie's mom and it put a smile on my face for the afternoon.

It's so easy to love our children but to know them and to like them quite another issue. We get to stand back and watch them make decisions and know they aren't our choices but hope against all odds that they are the decisions that make them happy. When he's short tempered I know he has my quick temper. When he's outside playing basketball and 1am it's hard to be irritated when I know he's close and safe and has a little pounce in his step. It's hard to have any authority over a grown man, especially after you've sat in the car with him, his big grandpa boat of a car singing kid rock lyrics together hyped up on iced coffee. He doesn't love poetry like I love poetry and I will never understand Math the way he loves the numbers. When I listen to the same Paula Cole song 10 times in a row he shakes his head and quietly curses me and when I've made his favorite dinner and it's just the two of us and he's busy telling me about his new class schedule I know he's mine forever, a little piece of him is mine forever. When he started working at a bank when he was 16 and loved the idea of counting money all day I wonder what alien tucked him in the crib in the other room and where my real child is out there in the universe.

I miss the little blonde kid digging in the beach behind the lake house, his hair full of sand and his skin tanned from April until October. Everything I do is about those tiny memories that make who I am. When I am putting a mermaid on a bracelet I am with little Rich at the beach and I've taken the day off work and pulled him out of kindergarten for the day and headed to water to watch him build sandcastles. In those quiet moments he became this person he is now.He loves the little animals the way I love them. He loves adventure because his auntie taught him the love of adventure. He has his father's love of children and his Uncle Andy's love of pure laughter just for the sake of laughter. He loves the cubs because his first memories of his uncle Stan were about Cubs games. He reminds me of my dad when he's bitching about me taking a short cut doing anything and when he complains about my driving. He reminds me of my mom when I find the little box in his room full of one earring his aunt loved, movie tickets from his first date with Christina and the tickets from the Cubs Yankees game a few years back.

The other day I was wondering who I was. My knee jerk reaction is to say I'm a mother, I'm an artist, I'm a businesswoman, I'm a best friend, a sister, someone's lover blah blah blah. But it's changed now. He's a man this son of mine. I'm an artist, a business woman, a mother, a best friend, a sister, and aunt and cousin, and someone's lover, someone's secret, and mostly I am loved. thanks for spending this time with me. If you have an interest in my art you can find me at Carrie.

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